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Computer for elderly non-typing man?
Old 02-15-2011, 05:19 PM   #1
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Computer for elderly non-typing man?

My uncle is in his 80's and, like many men of that generation, never learned to type. His eyesight is not great but he's not blind. He can still open a jar lid one-handed.

He wants to read newspapers and get e-mail on the Web, so I tried him out on our home computer, and he picked up on the mouse faster than I would have believed. Keyboarding is laborious hunt-and-peck, of course. He doesn't have any of the built-in "Windows defenses" the rest of us have, such as automatically clicking on the "x" to get rid of pop-ups.

I am thinking he might do best with a tablet that he can carry around (like one does with a newspaper), probably an iPad. However, I don't own an iPad myself and am not sure how to advise him. Does anyone have any relevant thoughts/experience/advice?

Thanks,

Amethyst
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
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The iPad sounds ideal for him. Here's a pretty comprehensive review:

Apple iPad Review (64GB) - Tablets - CNET Reviews

If you wait until the next version comes out (probably within a few months), the current version should come down in price significantly.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:34 PM   #3
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Kind of you to help him out, Amethyst.

Ha
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:43 PM   #4
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What's the problem to which iPad is the solution? He can use a mouse. Hunt-and-peck is slow, but it works on a keyboard. If he switches to an iPad, he won't use a mouse and the screen-keyboard is going to be a whole new thing for him. Just get him a computer. (Disclaimer: I have an iPad which I really haven't figured out, yet, but I'm very familiar with a regular old mouse and keyboard.)
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:42 PM   #5
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I have seen grandmothers who have never used a computer that took to the iPad like ducks to water.
However, an easy way to test that may be to take him to an Apple store and let him try one out. You may even want to see if a nearby apple store has an 'intro to ipad' class before or after normal store hours.
This way he isn't also trying to deal with a crowd, while also trying out new technology.

+1 on the waiting for the second gen iPad, price of the first gen iPads should drop quite a bit.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:54 PM   #6
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My mom is not very computer savvy but darn she was all over my iPad during the holidays and loved it (she wants one for X-mas to replace her laptop).
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:03 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tip about the Apple store. I didn't even think of it, since I have no desire to own an Ipad, Iphone, etc. I'm sure he can find a store near where he lives.

Amethyst

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I have seen grandmothers who have never used a computer that took to the iPad like ducks to water.
However, an easy way to test that may be to take him to an Apple store and let him try one out. You may even want to see if a nearby apple store has an 'intro to ipad' class before or after normal store hours.
This way he isn't also trying to deal with a crowd, while also trying out new technology.

+1 on the waiting for the second gen iPad, price of the first gen iPads should drop quite a bit.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:46 PM   #8
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My pleasure.
I haven't taken any of their classes, but I did see one offered at a store prior to opening. The stores I have been to have impressively patient custom service. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:02 AM   #9
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His eyesight is the critical spec here. If the iPad font can be enlarged the display is still easy to navigate for him, go for it.

I would suggest a try-before-you-buy trip. Or borrow one and see if his vision is sufficient.
Very kind of you to help him.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:24 AM   #10
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I have not done anything on an Apple... (well, I lie... just remembered my son spent his own money for an IPod)....


But, you still have to know what to do to get things done.... since you said he does not know about the red X to close something... how is he going to know what to do on an Apple...


My mom has a computer, but now does nothing on it.... wish we could get her something that would get her on again...
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:09 AM   #11
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Texas, see if she is willing to try an iPad.
Apple is all about simple user interface.
There is one 'home' button on the iPad. It is an incredibly simple to use interface.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathras View Post
Texas, see if she is willing to try an iPad.
Apple is all about simple user interface.
There is one 'home' button on the iPad. It is an incredibly simple to use interface.
I'll agree with those who say 'try it'. The family wanted to get one for my MIL - I was cautiously skeptical if she could deal with these hand motion swipes and stuff. I set it up ahead of time for her. After working with it a couple days to get a wifi box set up for them, and personalize it and load some apps for them, and generally learn how to use it so I could help her - I was really impressed by the simplicity.

When she got it, I could tell she was a little wary of it. I showed her a few things, and she asked about the manual - I said - "You won't need a manual - Here is the ON/OFF button, and here's the HOME button. Just play with it, you'll get the hang of it - if you seem lost, just push HOME and start over".

A week later she was thrilled with it, and told me I was right - just hit HOME and you are 'unlost'." And she has trouble with computers, so this was pretty good.

For me, the limited muti-tasking and other limitations might drive me nuts. But those same things make it easy to do what it was designed to do. It's pretty impressive.

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Old 02-17-2011, 04:53 PM   #13
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I'll report any progress on the Uncle front. He's smart and I'm sure he can do whatever he makes up his mind to.

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Old 02-17-2011, 05:27 PM   #14
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Amethyst, he might like the laptops and desktops at the Apple store too--if he's going to be checking his e-mail on whatever he ends up with, he might also be sending e-mails, so he could try the standard keyboards vs. whatever one uses with the iPad (and he might like the bigger screen?). (Like you need this advice--I'm sure you've already planned to do this .)
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